Upsets shake up North playoff races

The Bangor Rams are making a late-season surge in the hope of qualifying for the Class AA North basketball tournament later this month.

The Bangor Rams are making a late-season surge in the hope of qualifying for the Class AA North basketball tournament later this month.

A wild Tuesday night of action in the North region schoolboy basketball ranks tightened up several battles for playoff position or playoff survival.

In Class AA North, the combination of seventh-ranked Bangor’s 52-45 victory over No. 5 Oxford Hills of South Paris and No. 6 Windham’s 62-53 loss at Class AA South leader South Portland has moved coach Carl Parker’s Rams within 10.9 Heal points of Windham’s hold on the final playoff berth in the division.

Bangor (5-10) has now won three straight, including a win at Hampden Academy last Friday that ended the Broncos’ 62-game, seven-year, home-court winning streak and Monday’s win over the 11-5 Vikings at Red Barry Gymnasium.

The Rams still have little margin for error as they continue their late surge with three games left against Class A North No. 5 Messalonskee of Oakland (10-4) and No. 12 Lawrence of Fairfield (3-11) and AA North cellar-dwelling Lewiston (3-12).

Windham (10-5) has games remaining against three Class AA South teams, No. 2 Thornton Academy of Saco (13-2), No. 4 Bonny Eagle of Standish (6-10) and No. 5 Gorham (3-11).

Elsewhere in Class A North, Gardiner followed its two-point win over Oxford Hills last Friday by shooting 67 percent from the field to knock off Hampden Academy on Tuesday night.

The latter win moved Gardiner (9-6) within less than two points of Hampden (12-3) in the battle for second place in the division. Both teams are more than 50 Heal points behind the top seed, undefeated Medomak Valley of Waldoboro.

Further down the Class A standings, Camden Hills of Rockport edged Brewer 58-52 on Tuesday evening to move within seven Heal points of 10th-ranked Nokomis of Newport for the division’s final playoff bid.

Camden Hills (5-9) is scheduled to host Nokomis (7-7) on Thursday evening.

In Class B, Nate Desisto banked in a 24-foot 3-pointer from the left wing in the final second of play Tuesday night as Orono went on the road to defeat Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor 51-49 to hand the Trojans their second straight loss after opening the season with 14 consecutive victories.

The result narrowed MDI’s lead in the division to 1.2 Heal points over second-place Hermon, also 14-2. MDI defeated the Hawks twice in their two regular-season meetings.

Elsewhere in Class B North, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield continued its rally from an 0-9 start this season with a 51-49 upset of No. 6 Winslow at Wright Gymnasium.

Coach Josh Tardy’s Huskies won for the fourth time in their last six games and now rest less than two Heal Points behind No. 12 John Bapst of Bangor (4-12) in their battle for the final playoff berth in that division.

Ernie Clark

About Ernie Clark

I'm a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, my coverage areas range from high school sports to mixed martial arts.